Friday, March 03, 2006

War: the why, and the how

Dean Esmay has an interesting theory on the bottom-line cause of war. He writes:

I believe that the source for all real wars--not violent outbursts, but wars--is: those who fight believe it is ultimately in their self-interest to fight.... En masse, people fight to the death for something only when they think they have more to gain by killing than by not killing, more to gain by risking death than by accepting the status quo. Everything else is just peripheral.

I think Dean is right about the self-interest part; but I disagree on the "just peripheral" part. The self-interest factor may indeed be a sort of overarcing meta-reason, but it doesn't stand alone, and the "peripherals" are pretty central, IMHO.

Not that Dean is suggesting this--but no one wakes up one morning and says, "You know, it's in my interest to fight a war, so I think I'll start one" (no, not even George W. Bush). There are always other reasons present, and most of the time they include at least one or two of those listed by Dean as the usual suspects: hate, rage, spite, envy, avarice, pride, ethnic tension, and religious tension.

Dean's post brought to mind a related topic, a somewhat controversial idea I've heard of about wars and how they are fought (not the "why" of which Dean speaks," but the "how"). The principle may not hold true for Western countries fighting highly mechanized wars--but there's a body of research that indicates that, at least in third world countries, local wars are fought most often in areas in which there is a surplus of young men, preferably unemployed.

How valid this research is, I don't know; I haven't studied it in any depth. But it makes a certain amount of sense, especially in economically strapped areas such as Africa where there is a great deal of sectarian civil-war strife.

This is not the same thing as saying "poverty causes war." It doesn't. Nor does it cause suicide bombers. But the combination of lack of employment and a surplus of young men provides an especially fertile field for the recruitment of willing participants in a conflict, men who happen to be of just the right age and the right gender, and who have a lot of time on their hands with not too much else going on otherwise that might tie them down.

Here's a discussion of the phenomenon as it relates to civil wars and localized conflicts in particular (and perhaps these are the ones Dean means by the phrase "violent outbursts," which he excludes from his definition of wars):

First of all, it is a common feature of livelihood conflicts that the rank and file of most atrocious militias around the world are filled by large cohorts of young men, who have been subjected to a rapid devaluation of their expectations as a result of loss of family livelihoods, and forced to accept a much more lowly situation in society than they had been led to believe they were entitled to, in their position as men.

In such situations, and if they are unable to find alternative livelihoods, in the cities, or in other sectors than agriculture, young men are extremely easy to mobilize in one or another movement, or even militia - particularly if they are promised land, livelihoods, or even just looting...

Every society is filled with fault lines. In good times they may be relatively unimportant. When times get tough, however, they provide an easy channel to pit one segment of unemployed young men against another, and thus to mobilize them.

If you are unscrupulous enough, it is easy to mobilize an ethnic army of discontented young men - provided they have been subjected to the rapid process of loss of livelihoods. When times are good, young men are not that easily mobilized to commit atrocities against a part of the population in their own country.


A book has been written on a related subject, although I haven't read it and therefore can't vouch for its quality. It's entitled Bare Branches : The Security Implications of Asia's Surplus Male Population , written by Valerie M. Hudson, Andrea M. den Boer.

Here's a summary:

...historically, high male-to-female ratios often trigger domestic and international violence. Most violent crime is committed by young unmarried males who lack stable social bonds. Although there is not always a direct cause-and-effect relationship, these surplus men often play a crucial role in making violence prevalent within society. Governments sometimes respond to this problem by enlisting young surplus males in military campaigns and high-risk public works projects. Countries with high male-to-female ratios also tend to develop authoritarian political systems.

Hudson and den Boer suggest that the sex ratios of many Asian countries, particularly China and India -- which represent almost 40 percent of the world's population -- are being skewed in favor of males on a scale that may be unprecedented in human history. Through offspring sex selection (often in the form of sex-selective abortion and female infanticide), these countries are acquiring a disproportionate number of low-status young adult males, called "bare branches" by the Chinese.

Hudson and den Boer argue that this surplus male population in Asia's largest countries threatens domestic stability and international security. The prospects for peace and democracy are dimmed by the growth of bare branches in China and India, and, they maintain, the sex ratios of these countries will have global implications in the twenty-first century.


If the theory is in fact valid in the first place, I still think there are a few things that might make it less operative in China and India than in some other areas of the world: economic development there means fewer of these males are likely to be unemployed in the future; both countries have a mechanized military--as compared to that of Africa, for example; both countries have stable, ancient, and relatively cohesive cultures that would tend to mitigate the sort of local, civil war type of violence that I believe is most associated with these population imbalances; and both countries seem to be in the process of discouraging the selective abortion of female babies (it is now illegal, although that's not too difficult to circumvent), the practice that had lead to such great imbalance in the first place.

So I'm not at all sure that the Bare Branches premise will pan out, and I certainly hope it won't. But it's food for thought.

25 Comments:

At 3:54 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

The "poverty" explanation for war or violence, and including suicide bombers, is constantly panned but it is not so much wrong as it is lacking nuance.

Since poverty is a relative term, all one has to do is point to some index of prosperity to conclude that it doesn't exist.

Nevertheless when people point to "poverty" what they really mean is a mixture of poverty, and a kind of hopelessness that we associate with it, but which can also be due to just a lack of possibilities in life.

Middle aged people don't fight wars. They are married, they have mortgages, they have something to lose. Young people are the ones to fight, precisely because they have nothing to lose.

Any theory is not likely to have a 1:1 correspondence, but, if you have a lot of young men with no possibilities for decent work, marriage, kids, status, etc. etc. then you have the raw material out of which to construct an army, a militia, or a cohort of suicide bombers.

That is why China and India are in fact potential problems, perhaps among themselves and not us. However, the population in the Arab world has exploded in the past several decades, I think, four times what it was in 1960, and that's across the board from the Atlas Mountains to the Gulf, and about 50% of this population is in their teens.

The same demographic arguments can be made for some of Europe's wars as well.

Of course this doesn't address all the reasons why people fight. Generally people fight when they feel their way of life, or way of consumption, is being threatened. Britain declared war on Germany in 1914 not so much because of Belgium but because they could foresee the effects of being subordinate to Germany. So they fought, and won, and finally, as Niall Ferguson points out -- lost.

But this was a fertile post that could go in a lot of directions.

 
At 4:08 PM, March 03, 2006, Anonymous kung fu said...

I suggest reading "War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning" by Chris Hedges.

 
At 4:29 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Sissy Willis said...

From a Darwinian, natural-selection point of view, culling out excess males through warfare makes a lot of sense.

 
At 4:48 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

"Failure at Biological Selection? I want YOU for the US Army!"

Other places you could go with this ....

The situation in the Muslim world is not so much hot war right now as it is terrorism, which is analogous to the revolutionary movements from about 1880-1920 for those of us of Euro-American background.

So, look to the history of that .... the leadership cadre was frequently of middle-class or better background, but they saw themselves as representative of large numbers of poor. Does it all come down to over-educated types who can't get a leg on the ladder of status and success? I don't know.

Then there's war as "liminal space" (Fussell) which means two things: lousy boring over-structured civilian life? Volunteer. No meaningful life at all? Volunteer.

Many, many places you can go with this. The only conclusion I would offer at this point is that Americans in general are not interested in war. Although, films like "The Matrix" remind me that there are a lot of people in the X, Y, Z generations who are like Peggy Lee/Thomas Mann, wondering, "Is that all there is?"

 
At 5:04 PM, March 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

Given the choice between working for nothing and not working for nothing, people will choose to not work... and, as numerous Communist dictators have discovered, even murdering thousands of people in an effort to terrify them into working, can't make them work.

 
At 6:48 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger John Laver said...

In "The History of the Peloponnesian War", Thucydides identified three reasons for why leaders go to war: honor, fear, and interest. Donald Kagan wrote a fascinating book (On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace) analyzing different wars using Thucydides' template. Don't underestimate the role of honor and fear in such decisions.

 
At 9:28 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

Islam, its endorsement of polygyny, and its "honor" killings of young women, seem to be tailor made to produce surpluses of unattached angry young men.

The China/India situation is mitigated by the changing age structure of the populations which almost guarantees a shortage of workers.

Chris Hedges is the worst sort of LLL moonbat. Even his colleague Tom Friedman criticized his anti-Israeli dispatches from the second intifada. Remember the one where he claimed that Israeli soldiers were killing arab children for sport. After that one the NYTimes reassigned him to New Jersey. Last year (or maybe 2 years ago), he gave a graduation speech at a school. He was so far into the ozone that the crowd booed him off the stage.

 
At 10:12 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Robert Schwartz said...


The Geopolitics of Sexual Frustration

By Martin Walker, FOREIGN POLICY, March/April 2006: Asia has too many boys. They can’t find wives, but they just might find extreme nationalism instead. It’s a dangerous imbalance for a region already on edge.

 
At 11:33 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

An addition I think compatible with the OP and several comments:

It is not privation or danger that propel young men into violence as much as the sense that they are not receiving the honor they desrve. This can be turned by tyrants into aggression against an Other who they believe have stolen or are withholding that honor from them.

As women are in some sense the bestowers of honor in even the most male-dominated societies, a hatred of women is nearly always an accompaniment to their other hatreds.

 
At 4:21 AM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Tom Grey said...

China now has some 60 million MORE military aged young men than women.

VERY dangerous -- like France, China has a history its people of "going insane". Great Leap Forward. Cultural Revolution.

Is "Anti-Japanese" coming? The old commies must be terrified that "successful", corrupt, commie business owners become the envy-hate targets of the less satisfied young men.

As long as there's a growth rate of some 7-10%, China's OK. What happens when their now 20 year old boom finally hits a bust? Who's fault will be?

China is already "importing" N. Korean women. Expect to see dowry relations change, in India and China both, so that men pay the parents of the daughters they wish to marry. Expect to see the age of marriage for women go down (to 10? 7? 5?), at least for binding engagement.


India might also increase the size of its Army, and become ... the World's largest "peacekeeping" force, for the UN. Especially if their (new, thank you Bush) alliance with US leads them to get better training and equipment.

 
At 6:10 AM, March 04, 2006, Blogger jw said...

There's a bit more to the thing. The most likely person to die in a war zone is a non-combatant --combat age-- male: Thus, for many young males, the military & fighting are the only real chance for life.

It is still common practice in many areas of the world to win a war by going in and killing as many combat age males as is possible. Sadly, almost all NGO's working for "world peace" define all combat age males as combatants. This leaves the male who might not fight with even less choice. Plus it increases the number of dead males, which for some NGO's is the point.

What will happen in Asia? It hard to say as the factors add up to something new, something which has likely never happened in the world before.

 
At 8:47 AM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Joseph Marshall said...

It seems to me that the commonly loose application of the word "war" has misled both you and Esmay to illegitimately confuse two separate things.

War, strictly speaking, is engaged in by nation-states. We happen to live in one that is relatively [but only relatively] responsive to its citizen's desires for or against war. The proper question to ask about this sort of war is why leaders engage in them.

More pointedly, under the circumstances surrounding us, the question is Did George Bush lead us to war in Iraq because it was necessary, or merely because he desired to do so?

Imputing the Iraq war to motives and desires among the American people as a whole is merely a way of evading this question.

The sort of conflicts you are interested in focusing on are clearly different from this, and economic circumstances, combined with a young population, may have much more influence on the matter.

But the direction this line of thought takes is also somewhat evasive of the more important question of Why do people think they are fighting?

And,once again more pointedly, given the conflicts we are really interested in--the one's in the Middle East--the question becomes Are the people who are fighting [the Palestinians, say] justified in thinking what they do about why?

In other words, are they fighting for real reasons rather than mere psychological projection induced by testoserone poisoning?

Until we start honestly asking these questions, we will neither understand, nor effectively combat, the sort of civil strife and insurgency on which you focus.

 
At 11:01 AM, March 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Until we start honestly asking these questions, we will neither understand, nor effectively combat, the sort of civil strife and insurgency on which you focus."

Those questions have already been answered, repeatedly. The only real problem is that you have already decided what the only "honest" answer is, and you are determined to reject any answers that do not match your preconceived notions.

 
At 11:40 AM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

Well, I wasn't here for those answers, but Babies is Power. We aren't having them, the Israelis aren't having them, the Europeans aren't having them, and those that are, right or wrong, good or ill, will inherit the earth. That's just the way it goes.

 
At 12:35 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Hello Neo –

As usual I can count on you to enlighten me on the fascinating topic of warfare. You seem to have a keen insight into the motivations for war (I’m not suggesting that there is something nebulous about your character in some way, so please do not be insulted).
Maybe you should consider writing a book on some of these topics.

In your post you laid out an interesting theory about unemployment as a means to motivate young men to warfare, this fits with your other posts about shame as a motivation for insurgence and war, etc.

I’m not a historian so forgive my generalization, but it seems that without the negative side effects of The Treaty of Versailles, and the shame that it brought on the people of Germany, Hitler would not have risen to such hegemony. I doubt that his particular brand of nationalism would have flourished in a country that didn’t inhabit a despondent people decimated by low self-esteem.

Shame is more than a peripheral motivation, in the case of dictators it can be a very effective tool, a primary motivation.

Thanks for the interesting post.

 
At 12:54 PM, March 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on, guys, it's fun. There's a large segment of the cohort of 'young men' who wallow in danger when they can get it. There are even some young women with excessive limbic system activity. It's built in. Older men who understand it can channel it. Nobody else can; ever watch a progressive school staffed with gray pacifist women try to deal with their young warriors? You can say, as Steve did, that young people have nothing to lose, but I don't think it's quite true. What they have to lose is their boredom, and the best way to do that is war; extreme sports and driving like a lunatic don't hold a candle to it. (Of course they can lose their lives and their health, maybe, but you have to be pretty old for that to develop relevance to you.)

 
At 1:04 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Chill Pill time.

Wars are fought because someone can generate the impression of loss, or the impression of gain. Take away that impression, and you make it that much harder to generate support for war.

Wars can only be fought with popular support or with centralized government control. Centralized and strong governments arise because of the perception of unmet needs. They maintain power because they generate new perceptions of needs which are unmet or by fueling the impressions which lead to war—or both.

Take away the perception of unmet needs, and strong governments find it increasingly difficult to maintain power without becoming ever more tyrannical.


Well said. And the author only had to write a book to get this comment in there, how's that for unintended consequences.


A lot of Westerners (I don't include Europe btw) think marriage, on an instinctive level, is the foundation of civilization.

The arguments for such are not common, nor are they understood and used except in rare circumstances of erudite knowledge and spectral information.

Start with the biology. Men are expendable, historically and genetically, men are a specialized branch of the female genome type, acquiring a Y chromosome some months after the typical female regular type had matured. You can have a society of 90% women and it can still function, either as a matriarchy or something else; the demographics are still good that you can beat off disease, depopulation, rival gangs, and animal predation.

Have a society with 90% men and 10% women, and you run into a problem. (you begin to see the point, no)

Biologically, the birthrates are set by the number of women, because women don't have quintuplets on common occassions, producing "litters". One man can impregnate many women, but many men cannot produce many children at one time by themselves.

To cut this short, men are expendable because it is the woman that is the foundation of species and genetic survival. (chivalry, chauvinism, look up)

Society and civilization have learned to harness this biological imperative through social engineering and evolution of morality. It is called two partner marriage.

Ostensibly the religionites will tell you it is to produce children. That is true. But it doesn't tell the whole story.

A society is more than the sum of its parts, as Confucius said, (Chinese, coincidence?) the family was the basic unit of a society. He is correct.

A society's overall HDP, human domestic product, is not only based upon the maximum population (Pakistan has 100 million, INdia 1.2 billion, America 300 million) but upon the harmony produced between the sexes and social units. (gays, lesbians, nuclear families, all social units, all have different power outputs)

This is why America with 300 million beats the crap out of the rest of the world even though we make up a smidgling of the percentile of 6 billion on this earth. We have greater social harmony, we fought and finished our civil wars and are on the verge of eliminating racial inequality and social equality (okay, scratch social). Btw, piss on "human geography" (if you watch Fox). Nothing human about geography people, humanity is in society and culture, not in location.

This is also why the Middle East sucks in comparison. You could say it is their culture or their race, but it really is their HDP. Their HDP sucks, they spend more of their time beating and raping their wives, daughters, and apostate women than they do working at a job or building a house.

And if they can't gain honor through wife beatings and gang rapings, they do what is known as the "honor killing" and just get rid of them once and for all.

Men getting rid of women is not going to produce social harmony or contribute to the human domestic product of your overall nation-society. It is just not.

I first got interested in this topic because it relates directly to military power. A nation's military power is found in its citizens. Even without an infantry centric battlefield (aka war), you still need men and women working in factories and research institutes to produce your bombs, missiles, tech upgrades, tanks, carriers, destroyers, and fighter-bombers. We don't have AI or automated robotics factories to make this stuff on its own yet.

You need educated and motivated people. People who rape women, beat up on little guys and gals, aren't motivated the way we need them to be motivated if they are going to work 18 hours on a factory to support the war effort.

The natural aggression in most men can be channeled. Just as hot rage can be channeled into cold, decisive, and logical planning. Just as soul grief can be channeled into Beth Holloway's determination, goal searching, and crusade. Just as sadness, anger, grief, hate, joy, love, can ALL be channeled into a very distinctly refined form that does wonders for the HDP.

Refining the raw materials into useful materials is the reason why diamond mine nations aren't as rich as the nations that cut the diamonds. Or why Iran has so much oil yet they need to buy imported gasoline.

Raw materials are just raw materials, they have no usable value until refined.

Human nature is the rawest of all nature's materials, the hardest to mold, the strongest to temper, and the strongest tensile material in the world.

The human mind, believe it or not, has more potential energy than a steel girder or a skyscraper. Its strength is not as titanium alloy or high carbon steel is, the human mind's strength is an infinitely malleable alloy that is as strong as we want it. Nobody has superpowers, since everyone's energies are stored as potential energy, not kinetic.

The point is in the end, China has a strong family centered foundation that is every bit as tough to stamp out as the Chinese's emphasis on strong male children. This is because China still believes in nationalism and patriotism, and sees men as the defenders of the weak and the nation at large. They have 60% men because they know and believe men are expendable. I'm ethnic Chinese, so I'm more in tune with and face more of these situations than perhaps the average American visiting Chinatown has had.

The Middle East has polygamy and incites hatred and violence between men and women, destroying their Human Potential in the HDP market. When a man has 10 wives and no one may touch or look at his wife, we have sexual frustration. Sexual frustration is a biological motivation in men for us to do something. If you don't channel that energy through constructive institutions such as marriage, protecting your wife and your children, then you're going to get snatched up by another institution, called Islamic Jihad.

When young men are jobless, have no girlfriends or wives, then they are itchy to kill. Enters, the propagandist. And I can have them all in the palm of my hand, a few virgins here, a few rewards there, and I have a private army.

Family loyalties go beyond most other loyalties, all you have to do is to cut off the loyalty to the family and you control the men, and hence the military power of a nation. Just because you can only use them as cannon fodder, doesn't mean you can't kill a lot of women and children in the process (Civil War, strife, Bosnia, Sudan, look it up)

It doesn't matter if the men are educated Pakistanis, Saudis, or Sudanese. If they don't have women that they can protect, if they don't have girlfriends or social institutions that give them an outlet on their rage and violence, then they are still going to shave their chests like a metrosexual and fly jet liners into buildings on a clear blue morning.

The self-esteem of men are really two fold. Financial, archetype protection.

Or, power, archetype self-esteem through domination.

Historically there have been two kinds of men. The guy who wants to protect his family and do the right thing in their eyes, and the thug that comes into his village with a private army of pockers, and procedes to burn, rape, and pillage everything in site.

The Liberal Utopia has no solution for this social dynamic that has been ongoing since the advent of fire.

You think men are going to be content with communism, where everybody owns everybody and everything? Men won't be content until they have a personal wife, something that they can call their own, and something that will motivate them to go psycho batshit jihad on anyone that tries to take it away from him.

There are jokes about men and our cars. Pretty funny, but most people don't know why and couldn't give a damn even if they did.

War is the test of humanity's spirit. It is a trial of arms to see which type of human is the best through nature's brutal evolution.

Who can better impose their will on others?

The man with a family, and is peaceful, kind, gentle and works hard to create a better future for his children?

Or the sadist power mad and greed intoxicated thug, murderer, and psycho-rapist? (Again watch Fox News, new crime in New York area)

Nature's choice is simple.

War ; Let the best man win.

Some people believe in religion because they need a purpose, they believe in a Second Coming, Judgement Day.

I believe Judgement Day is when I'm on the winning side, left standing amid a pile of corpses.

Iranian Presidents aren't the only true believers in a cause, they aren't the only ones with determination and power. They forget that, for some reason.

For as much as Iran believes his side is right and filled with righteous fire, there are people like me who believe just as strongly in the opposite force to the one that Iran and AL-Qaeda believe in.

People like me do not worship death. No, we study it only to become better at it than our enemies, because in the end it is life we crave, it is life we worship, and it is the sweetness of life, a family, love, kindness, a good community, that are the things worth fighting for, worth dieing for, and worth eviscerating a whole bunch of enemies for as well.

They believe in death, we believe in life. Let the best man... let the best human, win.

Rant off, kindly go to see your neighborly parish priest for spiritual insights.

P.S. Why do conservatives (religious, neo, or iso) not say marriage is important to civilization because of the things I said? Because they are not like me. And I am not like them.

The proper question to ask about this sort of war is why leaders engage in them.

Here comes the liberal utopia philosophy, everyone duck!

Imputing the Iraq war to motives and desires among the American people as a whole is merely a way of evading this question.

Some people believe power is in the people, others believe people are things power is to be used upon.

America doesn't need babies. We can stay afloat on immigration and assimilation until the next turn of the century. We might become the Islamic States of America, so it won't be pretty, but survival was never a pretty thing.

Babies are good because it is a side-effect of bilateral marriages, the basic foundation for civilization. But you need the support first and then the baby luxury, not the other way around.

Children born in dysfunctional families produce what is known as gang violence. You see it as civil war in Bosnia and other places.

I’m not suggesting that there is something nebulous about your character in some way, so please do not be insulted

People who believe as I do, or who might agree with some of my positions, would find that a keen insight into war is a pretty high virtue.

People who have been around negative anti-war thoughts and ideas, tend to becareful about labeling someone as an expert in war as I have come to experience.

One of Hitler's most critical tools was his passion in a speech. It wasn't shame that was the primary motivator through the unique device of human manipulations. Sure, you keep a person down, to stoke his hate. But to get him to follow you, and not somebody else, you have to provide him a vision. Which Hitler did, of an Ubermenschen race, a Aryan supremacy. Something positive, something that made people feel like human beings again, with a purpose, and a place in the world. Hitler promoted family values, the nuclear family. Hitler promoted awareness in the youth, civic consciousness, patriotism, discipline, and nationalism.

Just because Hitler was none of the things he spoke about, is no reason to believe his words lacked power on their own.

Because the meaning of a word is not what the speaker intended it to mean, but how it is percieved in the consciousness of men and women.

It is one of the basic understandings in propaganda, to persuade one must understand the reality of human perception and the malleability of the human mind. In philosophy, you can chase the Truth around, in the pursuit of the Good, but there is nothing concrete or good about human nature except what we make of it.

Philosophy is distinctly in need of a How to Guide to promote Goodness, cause a lot of what we use to promote virtues is the same thing our enemy uses to promote vices. We need some new weapons, an edge.

 
At 4:25 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Joseph Marshall

So whatever it's about, it's about Bush, eh? And, of course his ability to convince a free people to go to war despite your suggestion that there's no reason, and he's just jacking off?

Not that you're obsessed, or anything. When you return to the actual topic, you don't return to it, waving vaguely in the air that it's ... different... more complicated...something, something economics... but we just refuse to see and understand.

As to the one example you include, the Palestinians are illustrative of the larger question. Do they have a real cause, or is it just testosterone. That is about as complete a false dichotomy as I can imagine. I think you could get a nigh universal consesus among historians -- and perhaps anyone who has read history -- that wars are multideterminate.

Even the worst of causes are based on something; even the best of causes require some testosterone. Judicious understanding, and the supporting of one side or another, comes from examining the basis in reality for each set of claims.

Each Palestinian family believes that it used to be prosperous landowners before the Jews came and stole their wonderful land. That is their foundational truth, which they use as an explanation why they are poor, why they are powerless, and why they are not respected as they deserve. That they are poor, powerless, and disrespected is true, and on this truth they recruit. But the foundation is completely divorced from reality.

 
At 5:21 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

It may appear that my comment is apropos of nothing, if so, my apologies, but ....

Having roved this blogosphere for a week or so, I would say, it mostly reminds me of a number of dinner parties thrown by different individuals. Some individuals have nice dinners, for others, it's the same thing every night.

But I am an uninvited guest: I want to conduct myself accordingly. I don't want to be a boor, take over the conversation, or, worse, get in a fight over the condiments at the far end of the table. Otherwise the hostess might pointedly not ask me if I want a second cup of coffee, and instead might put a plate of cold shoulder, drenched with milk and chocolate, before me.

Maybe not.

 
At 6:19 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Ymarsakar
- with due respect, I think that you may have missed my point. I was suggesting that without the people's shame, a broken spirit, a national chagrin, there would be no means to spark a movement such as Nazism. This is regardless of how well Hitler spoke to the general public.



And when I wrote:
"I’m not suggesting that there is something nebulous about your character in some way, so please do not be insulted"

I was being careful about labeling in an attempt to be polite. I do not like to label or suggest too much about someone, anyone, whom I've never actually met.

Yes, I am against the Iraq war. I don't think that this action is right for our country, but I am not an anti-war, or an anti-warrior, or anything that would resemble the two.

I appreciate your comments and I read them with interest.

 
At 7:27 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Van then Assistant.

I already understood your point, as I said before, even if you didn't have the economic inflation or deperession you can still get Nazism. You can still create it if you really need it.

One of Hitler's propaganda tools was to announce that such and such a thing would be completed in X quantities in Y months. Then he would announce X+50% completed in Y-50% time, and produce "good news". He can also reverse it for bad news and destroy his opponents or anyone else in his way.

I already understood your contention that a broken spirit was required for Nazism, as I said it is not necessary for Nazism because Nazism had all the propaganda tools to create what it needed for a coup. Hitler's ability to speak is an ability at propaganda, and an ability at propaganda can sometimes replace bad news/ good news.

You don't need bad news, you just create it, you see?

If the economy was turning good, Hitler would just sabotage it. Which he probably did through his alliance with that industry magnate.

I quite agree that you need a depressed audience in order to fire them up from the brink of despair with nationalistic fervor. But you don't need Versailles to do it.

Yes, I am against the Iraq war. I don't think that this action is right for our country, but I am not an anti-war, or an anti-warrior, or anything that would resemble the two.

I wouldn't call people anti-war or anti-warrior, because I don't have an analysis of your views here. I don't tend to offer conclusions without at least a good read on the terrain.

I didn't know anything about your position on the Iraq war. But judging from the way you phrased your quote to be polite, I concluded that this had some shades of being around anti-war philosophy and ideas.

I'm looking at your motivations for saying what you did. Unlike others, I don't really bother refuting what you said or saying it is right/wrong. It is what it is.

I have nothing against what you said, many would benefit from being polite on the internet and being clear as Neo takes pains to do, what I seek is the motivations and the psychology behind it. So I speculate.

I'm unconcerned with whether you are anti-war or not, rather I'd be more interested to know how many people around you are anti-war and people who don't like the military, or don't like violence.


I appreciate your comments and I read them with interest.


Well, thanks, I'm always looking for a fresh perspective, a new edge.

The sort of conflicts you are interested in focusing on are clearly different from this, and economic circumstances, combined with a young population, may have much more influence on the matter.

I'll try to do a little filtering for assistant here.

To me, Joseph means that these conflicts you want to talk about aren't based upon popular sentiment, and are in fact more related to poverty, despair, and local issues.

Probably has to do with the two things he said ya'll were confused by. Can't define, not clearly dilineated in his words.

So whatever it's about, it's about Bush, eh? And, of course his ability to convince a free people to go to war despite your suggestion that there's no reason, and he's just jacking off?

I don't think Joseph sees it as an ability to convince, so much as that the power of war is exercised and held by the President independent of his constituents.

It is hard to read his stuff, because Joseph is very ambiguous. He doesn't clearly line out his position and his thoughts. He's short though, that might count for something here.

 
At 10:04 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Well, I wasn't here for those answers, but Babies is Power. We aren't having them, the Israelis aren't having them, the Europeans aren't having them, and those that are, right or wrong, good or ill, will inherit the earth. That's just the way it goes.

If I were Steve I wouldn’t put too much faith in population numbers as a function of gaining world ascendance. The good old days of massive armies overrunning less numerous opponents & taking turf is true now only for war between tier 2 nations. Technology coupled with technique has rendered this approach useless if a tier 1 nation is involved in the conflict, otherwise the Israelis would be long gone off the face of the earth. But that’s the way it goes.

 
At 5:00 PM, March 07, 2006, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

Grackle.
The point about demographics is, as in France, when an identifiable group, now minority, becomes the majority and retains its identity.
If that identity is different from that of the once-dominant culture, you have a change deeper than that resulting from losing a war.

Imagine, for example, in the US.
A group of Muslim men is arrested for roughing up a woman who isn't dressed modestly enough.

Does the prosecutor get away with dismissing all Muslims from the jury?

If he can't and if the Muslim juror(s) routinely find for the Muslim defendants regardless of the facts, how long until anarchy?

Now, you can say I'm pessimistic, but I would point out that a recent report on finding those responsible for the 7-7 bombings in Britain is that the cops are running into resistance from the Muslim community. Do you expect a person who'd give a cop the runaround in an investigation out of ethnic solidarity to play the jury role straight?

 
At 6:56 PM, March 07, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Demographics is no longer a barbarian mass army vs a select few quality units, as it was in the past, 500 AD in Briton.

Demographics now is just another way to succede at a coup de tat. You don't need to fight Europe's mechanized army, when you gain political power, you gain the armies as well. A nice way to get the nuke, if Iran fails.

 
At 3:47 AM, March 08, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

Van, it wasn't versailles, it was Hitler. If it was shame, the German people were never more ashamed then right after WWII, when we toook local villagers and marched them through the concentration camps to see what they were responsible for.

Ymark- As half ethnic chinese, When you said you were ethnic chinese, it suddenly all made sense. Brutal pragmatism... very chinese. The other thing the Chinese have been good at through the centuries is assimilating invaders. Those that invaded China were inevitably absorbed by it. America has the chance to be similarly strong, perhaps even having 'export assimiliation'. Perhaps that is why the French elitists and Jihadist Imams despise american 'culture' so much.

 

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